Child’s Name Change Standards
This table addresses specific factors each state will consider when legally changing a child’s name.

STATE
Preference of Child or Parent
Parental Misconduct; Reasons for Change
Length of Time name Used; Child’s Age
Impact on Child
Effect on Child’s Bond with Parents
Preference in Favor of One Party
Alabama






Alaska
X
X
X
X
X

Arizona
X
X
X
X
X
N
Arkansas
X
X
X
X

N
California
X
X
X
X
X
N
Colorado
X
X
X



Connecticut






Delaware
X
X
X
X
X

Wash. D.C.
X
X
X
X


Florida







Georgia






Hawaii






Idaho






Illinois
X
X
X
X
X

Indiana
X
X
X
X
X
N,C
Iowa






Kansas






Kentucky
X
X
X
X

S
Louisiana






Maine







Maryland
X
X
X
X

N,S
Massachusetts
X
X




Michigan
X
X

X
X
S
Minnesota
X
X
X
X
X

Mississippi
X
X

X
X
S
Missouri
X
X
X
X


Montana






Nebraska
X
X
X
X
X
N
Nevada

X



S
New Hampshire







New Jersey
X
X
X
X
X
C
New Mexico






New York

X



N,S
North Carolina





North Dakota






Ohio


X
X
X
N
Oklahoma
X
X
X
X
X
N
Oregon
X
X
X



Pennsylvania
X
X
X
X

S
Rhode Island
X






South Carolina
X
X
X
X
X
N
South Dakota
X
X
X
X
X
N
Tennessee
X

X
X
X
N
Texas
X
X
X
X
X
N
Utah
X
X

X
X
N
Vermont
X
X
X
X

N
Virginia
X
X
X
X

Washington
X
X
X
X
X
N
West Virginia
X
X




Wisconsin






Wyoming







N = Father’s Name Can’t Be Considered.
C = Favors Custodial Parent’s Name.
S = Favors Status Quo.

Prepared by Deborah M. Baumgarten.


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VARY FROM STATE TO STATE -- Name change rules are different from state to state. Generally, they require that the person seeking the change be an adult and a resident of the court's state. He or she must also have a reasonable reason for wishing the name changed.

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